Become a Global Leader with AU’s Online International Relations Programs

Start Your Online Master’s Degree This January | Apply by November 12

Join American University's Top-10 School of International Service

Now, more than ever, our world demands professionals who are motivated to effect positive international change. With a degree from American University’s School of International Service (SIS), you will build the skills to meet that demand.

Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., SIS is a full member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA). In 2018, SIS international relations master’s degree programs were ranked No. 8 worldwide by Foreign Policy magazine.¹

Equip yourself to wage peace through international relations, policy development, and socially responsible business—explore our online degree programs today.

60 years of international service

Online Degree Programs

In an increasingly interconnected world, American University’s International Relations Online programs allow you the opportunity to earn your master’s degree from anywhere. With our online master’s degree programs, you can build the specialized expertise, policy knowledge, and communications skill set to start creating a meaningful difference in your community and beyond.

As a student, you will enhance your expertise in international relations and foreign affairs and have opportunities to build a rich network of political and international connections without sacrificing your responsibilities at home.

The Time Is Now

Enhance your skill set with an online master’s from the School of International Service, and make your global vision a reality.

Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR)

Overview

The online international relations degree program is designed for aspiring global professionals who want to build their understanding of international affairs theory and practice. Course work will help you cultivate the writing, presentation, and critical thinking skills to analyze international relations as well as the policy analysis, development, and intercultural skills to effectively evaluate programs. You will emerge with proficiency in a specialized subfield of the sector.

Curriculum Snapshot

The MAIR degree program, which can be completed in as few as 24 months, includes foundational courses in international affairs as well as a variety of concentration options to help you tailor your learning experience to your career goals. The curriculum explores topics such as intercultural communication, introductions to economic and socioeconomic theory, foreign affairs, and the foundations of global governance.

Executive Master of International Service (MIS)

Overview

The online international service degree is designed for professionals with seven or more years of experience in the field of international relations. The accelerated curriculum will help you cultivate your specialized expertise in international affairs and strengthen your leadership skills to stay at the forefront of your field. You will graduate prepared to meet the demands of executive-level service in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors.

Curriculum Snapshot

The MIS degree program, which can be completed in as few as 12 months, will help you strengthen your leadership and technical skills to become or remain an authority as your field continues to evolve. As an MIS student, you will focus your studies on advanced concepts, theories, and emerging practices in the field of international affairs.

Concentrations

The MAIR and MIS programs offer an array of international affairs concentrations so you can take classes in your area of interest. Concentrations include:

Global Security

Examine the dynamics of peace, security, and war, and learn to prevent, manage, and mitigate conflicts in communities around the globe.

International Development

Learn how politics, public health, sustainability, and economic growth affect development in countries and communities worldwide.

Social Enterprise

Take courses in social innovation, project design, and global policy to prepare for careers within businesses that advance a social mission.

International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

Develop a deeper understanding of the causes of global conflict, and learn negotiation tactics to end international disputes.

United States Foreign Policy and National Security

Study the underpinnings of global policy formation and explore how these strategies are executed.

"Being at American University allowed me the flexibility to balance my career with my education, but it also gave me the opportunity to qualify and obtain a more senior-level position to really effect change within the U.S. Air Force.”

Kiara Colon-Torres, MAIR ‘19

Residency and Capstone Requirements

Residency

To complete each of our degrees, you will be required to visit the American University campus in Washington, D.C., for a weekend-long residency. The residency includes networking with peers, faculty, and professionals in your industry; participating in skills institutes; and visiting government, foreign affairs, and development organizations.

Learn More About Residencies

Capstone Project

Each program concludes with a capstone that will require you to apply skills and knowledge gained throughout your courses. You may choose to either complete a Substantial Research Paper (SRP) or participate in a client-based team practicum project.

Are You Pursuing a PhD?

If you plan to pursue a PhD after earning your online master’s from SIS, we recommend completing the SRP capstone. The research provides a great segue to continue your international studies beyond graduation. 

Learn More About the Capstone


Online Program Admissions

SIS students are ambitious professionals who are motivated to make a difference through global policy, foreign services, and international affairs. If you’re looking for assistance with putting together your best application, it can be helpful to reach out to an admissions counselor at 1-855-306-2847 or admissions@IRonline.american.edu, or attend one of our three types of virtual events:

  • Application Strategy Webinar: Review tips for completing your application and discuss the admissions process.
  • Financial Aid Webinar: Review financial aid options and tips for securing aid.
  • Student Roundtable: Meet current students and members of the admissions team and review our curriculum.

All of our events also include a live tour of our virtual classroom.

When Is Our Next Event?


Application Requirements

Application requirements for both programs include:

  • Completed online application form
  • Current résumé/CV
  • Statement of purpose
  • Official transcripts from all academic institutions from which you earned credit
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • $55 application fee

To review specific application requirements, visit our respective program pages:

Take the Next Step

Request information today to find how the School of International Service can help you meet your career goals.

Military Benefits for Students

Active-duty military members and veterans make up more than 30 percent of the International Relations Online student body—and SIS is committed to providing the convenience and flexibility to allow these students to earn their international relations master’s degree no matter where they’re stationed. Our program is a great fit for military service members and veterans for its:

  • Skill-building that applies in real time, including leadership, cultural competence, adaptability, and global perspective
  • Networking with like-minded service members and veterans for careers within and beyond the military
  • Financial aid benefits, including the Yellow Ribbon Program

Read More About Military and Veteran Benefits

A Flexible Online Format

Our online programs are designed to maintain the same educational quality as our on-campus programs, with a curriculum that fits seamlessly into a busy schedule. Our flexible learning format includes:

Live, face-to-face video classes

Our videoconferencing technology allows you to see, interact, and debate with your peers and professors throughout class. Class sizes are kept to an approximate 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio to promote close collaboration.

Immersive coursework

Our coursework is intended to expand on in-class lessons with videos, quizzes, and Q&A sessions. Coursework can be completed weekly on your own time.

Interactive case studies

Our case studies allow you to translate concepts and skills learned in class to real-life situations. You will collaborate with peers to work through these projects together.

What Can I Do With an IR Degree?

At SIS, we offer two different master’s degrees online so you can advance your career starting at your current skill level—and move up in your desired sector.

Explore Careers in International Relations

With a foundation in international affairs and expertise in a specialized subsector, you will graduate equipped to enter or move up in your field. In each sector, your duties can include:

Private sector

Developing data-driven recommendations to support government officials and policymakers; providing consulting services on government relations, regulatory strategies, and corporate citizenship; and overseeing development projects in different countries

Public sector

Driving U.S. foreign policy; developing and managing assistance programs that promote peace, stability, and prosperity in different countries; and operating and assessing economic sanctions programs

Nonprofits

Supporting democratic development programs, backstopping field teams, providing policy research support, and analyzing project performance in other countries

Connect With the SIS Alumni Network

Upon graduation, you’ll join 15,000+ alumni serving their communities around the globe. Whether you’re an aspiring foreign aid officer or public policy analyst, you can regularly tap into this powerful network of international professionals to connect and learn.

Explore Our Alumni Career Paths

Leverage SIS Career Services

At SIS, we want to help you achieve your career aspirations. To that end, we offer a variety of services, including career advisors, virtual and on-campus employer information sessions, and AU Handshake, a password-protected database of international affairs job and internship opportunities specifically for SIS students.

Explore SIS Career Services

SIS Faculty

Our faculty are active members in the international affairs and service communities.

Stephanie Fischer

Lead Faculty, Practicum in International Relations

Stephanie Fischer is an executive in residence at SIS. In the past, she has directed the Advisory Board Foundation’s child protection project in the Philippines, and she has led Cummins Inc.’s corporate social responsibility efforts in Mexico.

Tazreena Sajjad

Senior Professorial Lecturer, Global Governance

Tazreena Sajjad’s areas of expertise include transitional justice, refugees, forced displacement, post-conflict governance, gender and conflict, and social movements in South Asia. Prior to joining SIS, Dr. Sajjad worked in the Afghanistan program at Global Rights in Afghanistan and in the South Asia program at the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

Gordon Adams

Lead Faculty, U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security

Gordon Adams is a widely respected expert and author on defense and national security policy, the defense policy process, and national security budgets. He is consulted extensively by the nation’s media for comment on U.S. national security policy.

Staying Connected to Washington, D.C.

Attending a school that is based in Washington, D.C., offers a wealth of opportunity for international affairs and global policy professionals. Through our required residencies and other optional visits to campus, you’ll be able to network with professionals in your field and get advice from professors on how to gain introductions at your desired places of employment.

Studying on Campus

If you live close to American University’s campus but are earning your degree as an online student, you have the option to take up to a quarter of your courses in person. If the full-time on-campus program works better for your schedule, you can explore those degree options here:

On-Campus Programs

Take the Next Step

Request information today to find how the School of International Service can help you meet your career goals.